The Beauty of Thoughtful Neglect: Spring Garden Care in the Ecological Garden

Native wild ginger emerges in April Why leaves should stay where they are and  “Chop and drop” tidying  Back in March, shortly after the Covid-19 shutdown began in Illinois,  I was on a zoom meeting with some other native plant gardeners when we got on the subject of spring clean-up. “What does that even mean in the ecological garden?” someone asked. Should it be called clean-up, when what we’re doing more resembles editing, rearranging, and augmenting, with very little clean-up involved? How does the native plant, pollinator and wildlife-friendly (not to mention soil carbon sequestering) gardener help their plot emerge from winter into the growing season? Because I have had more time at home and in the garden, I began to take notes of what it is I actually do. We all know what conventional spring clean-up looks like here in the Midwest and across the country. It is exemplified by what occurs in April and May in the townhome complex where my sister resides, ruled by the homeowners’ ass

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